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    20 Incredible Israeli Women You Need To Know

    It's no secret that Israel leads the Middle East in women's rights, but let's take a look at just how far Israeli women have come in the fight for equality and freedom. In honor of International Women's Day, here's a list of 20 Incredible Israeli women who have (or are) changing the world.

    1. Golda Meir

    As the first female Prime Minister of the State of Israel, before most western countries ever had a female head of state, Golda was a fearless zionist and a feminist too. Her courage had strength have been, and will continue to be, admired for all for generations to come.

    2. Hannah Senesh

    Via upload.wikimedia.org

    Hannah Senesh became a Zionist as a young girl, and moved from her home in Hungary to Israel in 1939 where she joined the Haganah. In 1943, she became a paratrooper for the British army. The following year, Hannah was sent on a secret mission to rescue Jews from Hungary. Arrested at the border, she was repeatedly tortured for several months, but refused to reveal any information about her mission. When the Nazis executed her on November 7, 1944, Hannah was only 23-years-old.

    Throughout her short but heroic life, Hannah kept a diary and wrote poetry which is widely acclaimed today. Senesh is a national heroine in Israel for her courage, poetry, and devotion to her country.

    Now that's a heroine.

    3. Lucy Aharish

    Lucy Aharish, a proud Israeli-Arab, Muslim, and successful journalist. Aharish has gained both criticism and praise for her outspokenness when it comes to Israel. She hosts a news broadcast on Channel 2 News, and made headlines this year when she passionately spoke out against the incitement to violence that members of the Joint Arab List in Israeli parliament are taking part in.

    Aharish was also one of the torchlighters for the Israel Independence Day ceremony last year. Aharish was selected because of her work to "advance social pluralism and positions calling for coexistence in our country.” She is not only a trailblazer for Arab-Israelis, but for all women as well.

    Facebook: video.php / Via StandWithUs

    Israeli-Arab journalist Lucy Aharish speaks out against incitement by Arab-Israeli leaders: "You are inciting thousands of young people to go the the streets. You are destroying their future with your own hands.”

    4. Luba Samri

    Via StandWithUs

    Luba Samri is another remarkable Israeli-Arab woman. As a spokeswoman for the Israeli police, she's a trailblazer as well as an advocate for justice.

    “Democracy is law. I believe in the law, not because I want to be more Jewish than the Jews. I am a proud Arab with Palestinian roots, and I am the proudest Israeli."

    "I am for peace and coexistence,” she added.

    On why she has dedicated her life to protecting the state of Israel and has served over 20 years in the Israeli police: “I wanted to be in a position where I could have influence. The police gave me that opportunity.”

    5. Hadar Cohen

    Via StandWithUs

    Hadar Cohen is a 19-year-old Israeli border policewoman who laid down her life for the state of Israel, fighting off 3 Palestinian terrorists equipped with guns, knives, and pipe bombs in a terror attack during the recent wave of Palestinian violence.

    Though she was gravely injured after being shot in the head by a Palestinian terrorist, she managed to fire at the terrorists before losing consciousness. Because of her bravery, Israelis are safer today.

    Israel lost a treasure when it lost you, Hadar, but we thank you for your sacrifice. May her memory continue to be a blessing.

    6. Gal Gadot

    Via quora.com

    Israeli 'Wonder Woman' Gal Gadot: the talented actress has made waves this year with her upcoming role as Wonder Woman - and how could 'Wonder Woman' NOT appear on this list? Gal also has been outspoken about her support for Israel taking to Facebook when Israel was under attack from thousands of Hamas rockets from Gaza to support the IDF.

    7. Dr. Ruth

    Via algemeiner.com

    You've probably heard of the famous sex therapist, Dr. Ruth, who hosts her own TV show providing advice - but what you probably didn't know about her, is that she was a sniper in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948.

    Via seanlinnane.blogspot.co.il

    Yep, it's actually her.

    In her own words: "When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded."

    8. Pnina Tamano Shata

    Via identitejuive.com

    Member of Israeli Parliament (Knesset) Pnina Tamano Shata made history by becoming the first female Ethiopian member of the Israeli Knesset. From Ethiopia to Sudan to Israel, MK Tamano-Shata has an incredible story of triumph that truly demonstrates what Israel stands for!

    9. Sivan Ya'ari

    Via flickr.com

    Sivan Ya’ari is the Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, an incredible organization that utilizes Israeli technology to provide better, cleaner, safer, and more reliable resources to the people of Africa. In the past 8 years, Innovation: Africa has brought Israeli solar and agricultural technologies to African villages and has improved the lives of nearly 1 million people. This is an Israeli woman truly making the world a better place for all.

    10. Karnit Flug

    Via cdn.timesofisrael.com

    Karnit Flug is a woman trailblazer in a field largely dominated by men. Karnit served as the first woman in history to serve as Governor of the Bank of Israel - an impressive achievement and another crack in the glass ceiling.

    11. Dalia Itzik

    Via www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com

    Dalia Itzik is a woman who proves you can do it all. First elected to the Israeli Kneseet in 1992, Dalia served on the Knesset Finance Committee, the Education and Culture Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women, and the Special Committee for Research and Scientific Technological Development. She also served as the first female Speaker of the Knesset in 2006, and the first female President of Israel in 2007 (interim).

    Dalia is also a wife and mother of three.

    12. Miriam Naor

    Miriam Naor is the current Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. What more explanation do you need?

    13. Nechama Leibovitz

    Via jewishagency.org

    Nechama Leibovitz was a legendary female biblical scholar who dedicated her life to teaching Torah and Jewish law. Another field primarily dominated by males, Nechama was a trailblazer in Jewish education. In 1956, Leibowitz was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in education, for her work in furthering understanding and appreciation of the Bible.

    14. Kay Wilson

    Facebook: video.php

    Kay Wilson is a British-born Israeli tour guide, and inspirational speaker who survived a horrific Palestinian terrorist attack in which she lost her friend, Kristine Luken and was repeatedly stabbed herself with a machete, and left for dead. Miraculously, Kay stabbed the terrorist, which lead to their capture, played dead and later walked over a mile bleeding to death. She survived and fought back to become an advocate for justice and for Israel. She now speaks for organizations such as StandWithUs, OneFamily Together, and Magen David Adom.

    15. Sara Zoabi

    Sarah Zoabi is an Israeli-Arab Muslim and proud Zionist speaks out about life as an Arab in the Jewish state. She is also the mother of Israeli-Arab Mohammad Zoabi, who went viral after expressing his support for the state of Israel in the face of Hamas terrorists in 2014.

    Facebook: video.php

    Sara Zoabi on MasterChef Israel

    16. Dafna Meir

    Another tragic loss Israel suffered this year with the brutal murder of Dafna Meir. Dafna was stabbed to death inside her home in Otniel by a Palestinian terrorists.

    Dafna dedicated her life to helping foster children and had a passion for adoption. Even after her tragic death, Dafna made the world a better place when the Knesset passed Israel’s first foster care law, in memory of Dafna Meir. At the time of her murder, Dafna, who was a nurse, was studying Arabic so as to be able to provide even better care for her patients.

    At her funeral, her husband Natan stated, "My Dafna is one in a million, who grew up in a house that wasn't a home and still managed to rehabilitate. She decided to give back grace to the world, and she did."

    Meir was the mother of six, including two foster children.

    17. Dr. Hagit Padova

    thejc.com / Via thejc.com

    Dr. Hagit Padova may not be a name you've heard of, but it's one you should know. As the top medic in the IDF, Dr. Padova was the senior physician on the Israeli Army's humanitarian mission to Nepal following the tragic earthquake.

    "There's no other country in the world which has the capability Israel does, to send out a search-and-rescue team and a medical crew with a field hospital so fast and efficiently. It's extraordinary....We don't ask: 'Can we go?' We go where we're needed, so when there is a disaster, we start preparing a mission. We don't ask why, because Israel has a humanitarian responsibility, a moral obligation to save lives. We can relate it to our history as refugees, of being in danger time and again and with no one helping us."

    260 IDF personnel - more than from any other country apart from India - touched down 48 hours after Nepal's greatest natural disaster in 81 years.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com / Via IDF

    IDF's Lifesaving Humanitarian Mission in Nepal led by Dr. Hagit Padova

    18. Rinal Seif

    Rinal Seif is the widow of slain Druze police officer Zidan Saif, who was killed last year in the Har Nof massacre trying to save his fellow Israelis. This year, she formed a new initiative to expand relations because the Israeli Orthodox Jewish community and the Druze community.

    Just a few months ago, as part of the initiative, Druze leaders including Saif's widow joined a Jewish community in Arnona Jerusalem for a day of learning and friendship: “Instead of a blood pact, we should form an alliance of life, she said.

    19. Avital Sharansky

    Via jewishagency.org

    Avital Sharansky was a fearless activist and campaigner for human rights in the time of the Cold War. She led the campaign for the release of her husband, Soviet Refusnik Nathan Sharansky, who is now the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

    As the Jewish Agency puts it, "For a total of 13 years, Avital left no stone unturned in her campaign from Israel: meeting world leaders, diplomats, politicians, and speaking in front of Jewish audiences worldwide. Avital campaigned successive US Presidents, Congress, British and European political parties, Jewish lobbies, every major Jewish convention in Israel or worldwide, the UN in New York and Geneva (under the terms of the Helsinki Final Act)."

    Following her husbands historic release, Avital relocated to Jerusalem where she lives with her family.

    20. The Women of the IDF

    Via images1.ynet.co.il

    They're the women, the mothers, the sisters, the daughters, whose named we may never know - yet they put their lives on the line to defend the one and only Jewish and democratic state in the Middle East. Whether in Mossad, as an Israeli Air Force Pilot, or as combat soldiers in the IDF, these women are at the front lines when it comes to protecting the state of Israel.

    Now that's something to be proud of.

    People's Choice: Ada Yonath

    Via nobelprize.org

    Ada Yonath is an Israeli crystallographer and the first Israeli female Nobel Prize winner. Ada was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her pioneering work in ribosomes.

    Ada is another Israeli who, in field dominated by men, broke through barriers and is now inspiring women around the world to work in the field.

    These are just 20 incredible Israeli women, but in truth there are thousands. The Middle East is a challenging place for women's rights, but Israel continues to progress and serve as an example to the rest of the Middle East on what equality for women looks like, and what that means.

    Happy International Women's Day.

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